Knicks’ Quentin Grimes adored by coach as ‘fierce competitor’

Before the Knicks acquired Cam Reddish from the Hawks for Kevin Knox and a protected first-round pick on Thursday, Atlanta reportedly asked for Quentin Grimes.

But given the way coach Tom Thibodeau raved about Grimes on Friday, it should perhaps come as no surprise that the Knicks are unwilling to part with the rookie.

“I love Grimes. I love Grimes,” Thibodeau said Friday after practice. “He’s a fierce competitor, he can shoot the ball, he can defend multiple positions and he’s only going to get better. You look at his shooting profile, he was great in college. It’s been great in the pros. So that’s an important part of winning. Then to see the way it protects people, its competitiveness, that stands out.”

Grimes has played in 24 games this season, including two starts, averaging 4.9 points and shooting 38.4 percent from 3-point range in 13.7 minutes. But the Knicks’ recent COVID-19 and injury issues have opened the door for him to see more opportunities, and he’s taken advantage of them.

Quentin Grimes
Quentin Grimes
NBAE via Getty Images

In his last 10 games, during which the Knicks went 7-3, Grimes averaged 6.7 points, 2.1 rebounds and a steal in 21.1 minutes.

While Reddish won’t play right away because of a sprained ankle, it remains to be seen if his arrival will force someone out of the rotation.

Thibodeau admitted that would likely happen at least when Kemba Walker and Derrick Rose return from injuries, but said he liked how the current rotation was playing.

“The group that is playing now is playing well,” Thibodeau said. “So we want to keep it that way.”


Walker, who has missed the past seven games with sore left knee, is “doubtful” to play the Hawks on Saturday, Thibodeau said.


Before tackling the Reddish acquisition, Thibodeau made sure to support Knox, whose disappointing stint with the Knicks ended after more than three seasons.

“Kevin did a good job for us,” Thibodeau said. “I have great respect for him and his professionalism, the way he handled himself and of course we wish him the best moving forward.”


Asked if he’s heard from any former Duke teammates since the Reddish trade fell through (Zion Williamson notably joined them to make a Big 3 for the 2018-2019 Blue Devils), RJ Barrett said with a laugh: “We’ll keep that a secret.” house”, possibly wanting to avoid any smell of handling.

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